My life is Macedonia is neither difficult nor easy. Living abroad can be very exciting, yet at times it is stressful; my heart beats faster as I walk through the green market or walk my dog through the neighborhood. I cherish differences, find joy in observing human interactions yet I realize that as I open myself to a new place that my vulnerability is heighten. Not only do I want to share with you the pictures that my husband and I take, I want to try to share with you my emotions.
To be honest, my life is rather boring. My alarm twinkles at me around 6:30. My husband has already fed the dogs, eaten breakfast, and quietly left the house to catch his early morning bus to work. After rousing the kids out of bed, M and K like to eat cereal while I make their lunches and nag them about brushing their teeth. Everyone is out the door at 7:30. The pups and I spend about an hour outside. They chew on leaves, bath in the sun, and prance around the yard. I drink coffee and slowly start my day.
I wish that I could take our dogs on a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood, but the walk is not relaxing. Last week, we ventured for a short three-block journey. PB loves to smell the neighborhood so he did happy circles when he saw his leash in my hand. M brought his scooter and helmet. The final accessory to our journey was a long stick. The stick is used to protect PB, M, and myself from the street dogs. These street dogs wouldn’t even bat an eye at M, or me but they need to be protective of their territory and they don’t like PB. My eyes scan the area for dogs hidden under cars, dogs in yards with no fence, or dogs sleeping under bushes. The neighbors close by have cats and we can walk past their house with no problem. As soon as I started to get comfortable in our walk, two dogs come rushing from underneath a car.
One dog is curious and one was barking, growling, and showing his teeth. Immediately, I waved my magic wooden stick and puffed up my chest. The dogs tried to advance, but I stood my ground and PB pacifically watched from my side. The dogs barked and rushed at PB, but I yelled and waved my stick. “Wow! Mama your stick is powerful,” M said. Inside my nerves were doing somersaults and I was not feeling strong.
Yet, we continued on our journey around the neighborhood. We passed the apartment buildings, kids on the street riding their bikes, large neighborhood trashcans full of cats and discarded family garbage, and wrapped around back to our street. Dogs inside fences would bark at us and I tighten my grip on my stick. Finally, we were close to our house when I realize that a dog was following us. I whipped around and held my stick high. The dog backed away as M, PB, and myself entered into our gated yard. SAFE!
After all of this complaining, I do have to say that I have the nicest neighbors, who grow amazing produce, roast ajvar, try to communicate with me, and watch out for our yard.
I’ve taken the some photos of the neighborhood for you to experience the walk with me.The bottom photo shows a fence. If you look very carefully, you can see the dog who is watching me take this photo. I wish that I could get closer for you, but this rather large dog’s eyes can intimate me.